Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Saturday March 31, 2012
This has been an interesting week with temperatures in the 80’s. Flowers are growing profusely, nesting season is well underway, and eggs have been lain. I even have a bead on a few nests! The Northern Shoveler made an appearance on Monday, which was the only day that I saw them here, a group of six.
The roses are blooming and wildflowers are proliferating. Since I am not a flower expert, the only one that I recognized is the violet and the daisies. The House Sparrows are being crowded out by the Purple Martins and the Chimney Swifts in the martin houses that were put up by the City of Stillwater for the season. They are still here nesting, but it has been hard for them getting to the nest.
There are at least two European Starling nests off the park property inside trees that I’ve discovered. The females have been peering out of the holes periodically. Five Double-Crested Cormorants have been on the lake all week. One in particular has been perching on limbs and basking in the sun. I got a few good pictures of this male wing-drying, which was fairly lucky. They seem to be more skittish here than they used to be in Maine about being watched and photographed too closely. Wednesday was extremely windy, very few birds were out on the water other than the usual denizens, the geese, Mallards, and coots. Many of the smaller birds stayed sheltered wherever they call home. Thursday, I located one Killdeer nest that had four eggs. Mom hasn’t been spending a lot of time on the nest, so there is a good possibility that there will be the first clutch of chicks soon. There is an American Coot nest on the large dead tree cluster in the lake near the Veteran’s Memorial and flagpoles. I also encountered approximately forty Cedar Waxwings at the top of the lake by the recycling center. They stayed for about 20 minutes, just long enough for a quick photo shoot. Between 8:15 and 11 a.m. the fog rolled in and the sun was covered by a thick cloud cover, nearly obliterating it completely. There was a pair of Black-Headed, Franklin’s or Laughing Gulls halfway between Lakeview Rd. and Veteran’s Memorial. They were so far out, I was unable to determine what kind they were. I saw the nest of a pair of Mallards where they were sitting, but was unable to determine if there are any eggs in it.
Friday, I saw several different kinds of butterflies, and a Pileated Woodpecker flew into the woods across from the book bindery. I couldn’t miss that unmistakable head. For those of you that have never seen one, it is the bird that the classic cartoon “Woody the Woodpecker" was modeled after. They are very loud, but sound nothing like Woody. For those of you that have never seen one, they are easily as big as a crow(16-20 inches tall) with a bright red crest that extends from the forehead to the nape of the neck, a solid black back, and a white line that runs from the base of the bill, crossing the face to the back of the neck, and runs along the side of the neck. The female has a black mustache and the male has a red one. This morning, I was out very early, even before the sunlight was across the water. The Great Tailed Grackles were out looking for sustenance and I even went back to the top of the lake to see if I was fortunate to see the pileated again, but no such luck. Well, sometimes you win a few, sometimes not. There is certainly plenty of time to catch that gorgeous bird at the right time. In the meantime, I hope that you're having luck finding all your winged treasures, and happy birding to you.